Kuhlthau's Model of the Stages of the Information Process

Stage 1 -- Task Initiation

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To prepare for the decision of selecting a topic Contemplating assignment
Comprehending Task
Relating prior experience and learning 
Considering possible topics
Apprehension at work ahead 
Uncertainty
Talking with others
Browsing the Library
Brainstorming
Discussing
Contemplating possible topics
Tolerating uncertainty

Stage 2 -- Topic Selection

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To decide on topic for
research
Weighing topics against criteria of personal interest, project requirements, information available, and time allotted
Predicting outcome of possible choices 
Choosing topic with potential for success
Confusion
Sometimes Anxiety
Brief elation after selection
Anticipation of prospective task
Consulting with informal mediators 
Making preliminary search of  library
Using reference collection
Discussing possible topics
Predicting outcome of choices
Using general sources for overview of possible topics

Stage 3 -- Prefocus Exploration

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To investigate information with the intent of finding a focus Becoming informed about general topic 
Seeking focus in  information on general topic 
Identifying several possible focuses 
Inability to express precise information needed
Confusion
Doubt
Sometimes threat
Uncertainty
Locating relevant information
Reading to become informed
Taking notes on facts and ideas 
Making bibliographic citations
Reading to learn about topic Tolerating inconsistency and incompatibility of information encountered
Intentionally seeking possible focuses
Listing descriptors

Stage 4 -- Focus Formulation

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To formulate a focus from the information encountered Predicting outcome of possible foci
Using criteria of personal interest, requirements of assignment, availability of materials, and time allotted 
Identifying ideas in information from which to formulate focus
Sometimes characterized by a sudden moment of insight
Optimism
Confidence in ability to complete task
Reading notes for themes Making a survey of notes 
Listing possible foci 
Choosing a particular focus while discarding  others, or 
Combining several themes to form one focus

Stage 5 -- Information Collection

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To gather information that defines, extends and supports the focus Seeking information to support focus 
Defining and extending focus through information 
Gathering pertinent information 
Organizing information in notes
Realization of extensive work to be done 
Confidence in ability to complete task 
Increased interest
Using library collect pertinent information 
Requesting specific sources from librarian 
Taking detailed notes with bibliographic citations
Using descriptors to search out pertinent information 
Making comprehensive search of various types of materials, i.e., reference, periodicals, nonfiction, and biography 
Using indexes 
Requesting assistance of librarian

Stage 6 -- Search Closure

Task Thoughts Feelings Actions Strategies
To conclude search for information Identifying need for any additional information
Considering time limit
Diminishing relevance
Increasing redundancy
Exhausting resources
Sense of relief
Sometimes satisfaction
Sometimes disappointment
Rechecking sources for information initially overlooked
Confirming information and bibliographic citations
Returning to library to make summary search
Keeping books until completion of writing to recheck information

Kuhlthau, Carol C. Seeking Meaning:  A Process Approach to Library and Information Services. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishing Corp., 1993, pp.45-51